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NEW GENERATION: Summoned to learn through reflection

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I really love my job (or should I rather say Calling). For the past 18 months I have been engaged with 80% of
CA-reer responsibilities that I really like and I can see myself doing it and growing in it for a very long time! The other 20%… well, every job has a 20% portion that needs to get done but you do not necessarily enjoy it! However, the 80%, the core of it, is what makes me get up in the morning and do what I do best. My best is my ability to be an entrepreneur, coach and teach NEW GEN CAs(SA) to learn more about their Holistic Intelligences in their context/reality in order for them each to grow as a whole person and to perform to their best potential.

Now I did not get to this place in my CA-reer easily. It took ten years, nine JOBS, financial sacrifices, many mistakes, some naive decisions, risks, humility, guts – and a lot of reflection. Looking back, however, I believe that my experiences summoned me to learn to reflect on it and through that find my calling in my CA-reer. I’d like to share my CA-reer story briefly with you (life story is for another day) because my HOPE is that the principles that I have learned can guide you on your journey of reflective learning.

I always wanted to be a teacher – in primary school, I would make all my dolls sit up straight in my grandparents’ backyard and teach them on my blackboard made by grandpa. In High School, my accounting teacher confirmed my passion by encouraging me to become an accounting teacher so, after Grade 12, I received a DOE bursary to study a teacher’s degree. In my first year of studies I was introduced to the CA(SA) degree, its CA-reer opportunities, financial stability and the glamour of the corporate world. I changed my degree to a CA(SA) degree, and decided to forget about the teaching passion – perhaps wrong.

JOB 1: After university I completed my articles in the Entrepreneurial Services Division of a big four firm. During the three years, I learned to grow in technical abilities as an entrepreneur, accountant, financial manager, auditor and tax advisor. Real-life experiences and interactions summoned me to learn and grow in the way I interacted with my managers and directors, and how I lead my audit team. Under-promising and over-providing summoned me to learn that honesty and realism build authentic relationships with clients. Daily communicating in the Business Language summoned me to learn to become proficient and professional in what then was but my second language, English.

JOB 2: Having to decide in my final year what to do after articles, I got the “teacher passion” to surface again along with a new curiosity for taxation. I explored post-article teaching positions at the firm’s L&D department and a local university and a tax consultant position in the firm’s Corporate Tax Division. I was turned down for both teaching positions and was offered the Corporate Tax position, where I stayed for but one year. My manager and partner were two dynamic women from whom I have learned a lot. Being in a team of people with emotional and physical challenges summoned me to learn more about the holistic person, not only his/her technical skills. Having to merge with another team in our division summoned me to learn about change and how change-adverse the human person can be. Although I was very disappointed with having been rejected for the two teaching positions, I sailed forward and explored my teaching passion further, and taught a part-time accounting course at a small business college.

JOB 3: The next year I got a full-time position at a local public university to teach Accounting 1 and I stayed there for two years. Having 900 learners, limited staff and small facilities summoned me to learn how to manage projects and make things happen for my customers (learners) with limited resources. Having a visually impaired learner summoned me to learn to think out of the box when teaching people and about the realness of diversity. Having a lack of leadership in our department, summoned me to learn about the importance of self-leadership and the responsibility that leaders have to grow in leading themselves in order to lead others.

JOB 4: After the two years at the local university, I moved on to the SA campus of an international university and stayed there for two years. Being part of an international institution encouraged me to learn about the policies and standards that guide education in SA, the global world of research and its value and place in society, and the dynamics of working in an international team. Having a smaller number of learners summoned me to learn about the teaching and assessment skills needed to instill meaningful learning. Because the lecturer numbers were small, the lecturers in all the business and economics related subjects were in one team – this encouraged me to learn about the holistic spectrum of business disciplines that should be developed in each NEW GEN CA(SA).

JOB 5: While at the audit firm, I got married and, at that stage, my husband was a full-time pastor at a “mega-church”. Along with Job 2, and later Job 3 and 4, I had the role of “pastor’s wife” for four years. Spending time with people in Diepsloot, Zandspruit and Alexandra summoned me to learn about the realness of people with their potential limited by poverty. Making friends with two inspiring people from Forest Farm (house for disabled), summoned me to learn gratitude for my own abilities. Leading the eating disorder support group helped me to learn coaching skills and experience, and the true impact of an authentic community. Managing an outreach for an American group in Mozambique stimulated me to learn the servant-first leadership. Leading the women’s ministry summoned me to learn the importance of a clear strategy for your ministry’s vision. Different emotional, generational and situational dynamics in the women ministry suggested to me to learn situational leadership.

After jobs four and five, I took a risk and made a few dramatic job changes for two years and explored four different entrepreneurial routes.

JOB 6: Direct Seller for a Cosmetic Company: I learned what it felt like to be labelled as a hawker, to know and understand your product and your customers’ needs before you can sell it effectively. I learned that your TRUE value is not found in what you earn but in the Value of your relationships.

JOB 7: I started a small clothing manufacturing business with an amazing unemployed women tailor – we supplied items for prominent SA retail shops. I learned that, if you believe in your business vision, customers also believe in it, and you can make a success of it. I learned that if you help empower people, you empower yourself.

JOB 8: I tried events management and did a few events including a wedding – SOLO. I learned the power and importance of teamwork. There is no ‘I’ in team, and doing events alone can be very lonely and unfulfilling.

JOB 9: I qualified as an image consultant and explored the image consulting business for nine months. I learned the importance of dealing with and becoming comfortable with your personal style and dress. I also learned how inner image and self awareness forms the foundation of individual success.

JOB 10: The experiences of ten years and nine jobs summoned me to learn more about my holistic self, my potential, my passions, my strengths, my values, and my calling. My experience in JOB 1 (Entrepreneurial division) summoned me to learn that being an entrepreneur is part of my calling. Working hard and passionately teaching, coaching and writing for our country’s Youth and New Gen in Holistic Intelligence development, summoned me to learn that THIS is my Calling in my CA-reer – JOB 10!

Reflecting back on my CA-reer journey, I originally thought I may perhaps have changed degrees for the wrong reasons and changed jobs too many times. Until someone helped me to reflect on, and really see and embrace the value of my CA-reer experiences and choices: I would have not been an entrepreneur today, coaching and teaching the NEW GEN CA(SA) in Holistic Intelligences if it was not for my CA(SA) degree, my different CA-reer experiences and my sometimes perhaps risky choices.

Your CA-reer experiences and choices summon you to learn to reflect on, and find your calling in your CA-reer. I am not sharing my story to encourage you to change jobs to find your calling. I am sharing it to encourage you as a NEW GEN CA(SA) to reflect on and learn from each CA-reer experience, to make your choices with boldness, and to act on them with passion.